Math Moves Up to 2nd in Popularity
Majoring in Math at International College Beijing
Math has become a favorite second major for many students in International College Beijing (ICB), a joint education program between the University of Colorado Denver and China Agricultural University. Serving as a model to universities worldwide, the ICB program offers economics, communication, and dual degrees to Chinese students; the program allows for study on both the Denver and Beijing campuses.
Students Li Miao, Siyu Zou, and Tong Liu are all enjoying their studies in CU Denver classrooms; Miao and Liu chose math as a double major and Zou selected math as a minor.
Liu explained why he preferred math as a double major: “Economics is broad and theoretical. Economics like a building plan, but math is the tool you will use to actually build it. Learning math helps me to apply economic theories in everyday life.” Liu thinks that the match between economics and math helps students to feel more confident in applying what they are learning in economics, statistics, and finance.
“My focus is finance,” said Zou. “Finance is based on practices; math allows me to better apply what I am learning in my work experiences.” Zou landed a part-time job as a student assistant in the CU Denver math department helping professors review students’ calculus assignments. “I’m planning to apply as an intern this summer to gain more working experience.” She has also developed her leadership and social networking skills as president of the Chinese Student and Scholar Association at the University of Colorado Denver. She and her team successfully organized a variety of student cultural and recreational activities.
Miao had planned to study math before he came to Denver. As he recalled, “I have good relationships with several math teachers in ICB, and they encouraged me to take the opportunity to double-major if I came here.” To meet the criteria of applying for a math major before his 2014 graduation date, Miao will be taking more upper-level classes simultaneously during each semester.
“I feel like it became easier for me to focus on my studies after I came here,” said Miao. Unlike Beijing, I do not have as many distractions, and I have become more independent. With more time spent in the library and less time hanging out with my friends. Clearly, I know what I need and what I want to achieve.”
As Liu approaches graduation this spring, he considers how CU Denver has helped guide his academic focus and has also helped him to better understand “the meaning of time and living deeper”. “To finish the math major degree, I postponed my graduation by one year,” he said. “I don’t really care about the time that is consumed by studying.”
He explained that in China, most students “follow some rules”—finish a bachelor’s degree in four year, go to graduate school, then to work. “However, what I learned here is just to be me and not follow others.” Liu has already received a good offer for graduate school from the University of Maryland, business department; so he allows some time for his hobbies of reading and swimming.
Both Miao and Zou agree that “consistency is key. It is worthy to repeat the same little good habits every day.” They also agree that sometimes college life can have moments of loneliness, but those times are worth it if one keeps their dreams in mind.
All believe that good surprises are awaiting them.
by Yu Hua (Kathy)